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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  July 11, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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07/11/12 07/11/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we have been held by a blind trust, managed by a trustee. i don't manage them, don't even know where they are. the trusty follows all the laws, all taxes are paid as appropriate. there is nothing hidden. >> mitt romney is on the hot seat over where he stashes his vast personal fortune, but he insists he broke no laws with his offshore accounts and tax loopholes.
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we will stick with reporter nick shaxson about "where the money lives." five more corporations sever ties with the american legislative exchange council known as ali abunimah. alec to this country or corporations have even more influence than your ordinary lobbying, and do so behind closed doors and in the dark. >> 25 corporations have stopped supporting alec membership. we will speak with lisa graves. a new israeli government report says west bank settlements are illegal. >> authoritative document which spells out the rise of the jews [unintelligible] as was originally decided upon by the league of nations. >> we will host a debate. all of that and more coming up.
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this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. protests have erupted in spain over a massive new package of spending cuts and tax hikes to obtain the rest of the country's banks. in an address to parliament, the spanish prime minister unveiled an austerity package of nearly $80 billion involving a new sales tax and cuts to public spending. he said the measures were demanded by the european union as a condition for an emergency bailout of spain's banks agreed to on tuesday. egypt's top court has blocked egyptian president morsi's order for the country's parliament to reconvene. on tuesday, the supreme constitutional court affirmed a previous decision to declare the parliament unconstitutional, ruling that prompted egypt's military rulers to dissolve the parliament last month. the ruling came hours after egypt's parliamentary -- parliament defiantly convened a
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brief session and approved a measure to seek legal advisor on how to respond. after the latest decision was handed down, thousands of morsi supporters gathered outside parliament and tahrir square. >> if there is more egyptian people [unintelligible] we voted for them. >> u.n. peace envoy kofi annan continued an effort to mediate an end to the violence in syria with visits on tuesday to iran and iraq. speaking in tehran, kofi annan rejected the u.s. position that iran should be kept out of the talks. >> the essence of the six-point plan, stopping the violence, releasing detainees, allowing humanitarian access, should be seen as a package -- a package,
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if implemented, would help create the environment and conducive climate for political talks between syrians to determine their own political future. i believe, you heard me say on many occasions, that iran has a role to play in my presence here explains i believe in that. i don't speak for other countries. >> syrian opposition groups continue to oppose talks with al-assad that would preserve his regime. a spokesperson for the syrian national council said negotiations should only focus on al-assad's departure. >> this approval regime, which kills day and night, this regime is over and the al-assad family will be erased from syrian history. they should find a safe refuge for themselves. we, the national council, will
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only negotiate with the regime on one thing -- how al-assad will leave syria, and that is it. >> president obama has hit the campaign trail in iowa, one day after calling for extending the bush era tax cuts to americans making less than $250,000 a year. drawing a contrast with republican rival mitt romney, obama said those making above that amount should return to the tax levels they paid before bush took office. >> i believe we should make sure the taxes on the 98% of americans don't go up and then we should let the tax cuts expire for folks like me, for the top 2% of americans. [applause] so anybody making over $250,000
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a year, including me, and we go back to the tax rates we were paying under bill clinton. by the way, it was a time the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and created plenty of millionaires. >> president obama's to continue the campaign theme of linking romney to the outsourcing of u.s. jobs following reports about the practices of bronner's former company, bain capital. >> governor romney has experienced owning companies called pioneers in the business of outsourcing. my experience has been working with outstanding members of labor and great managers to save the american auto industry. as long as i'm president, i will keep fighting to make sure jobs are located here in the united states of america. >> meanwhile, addressing supporters in colorado, mitt romney called obama's latest tax proposal to attack another kick in the gut" that would hurt u.s. economy. >> your taxes will be the same.
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he announced a massive tax increase for small businesses. so at the very time the american people are seeing fewer jobs created than we need, the president announces his or make it harder for jobs to be created. i just do not think this president understands our our our economy works. >> new research has reinforced the connection between recent extreme weather and climate change. scientists on global warming made a heat wave in texas last year 20 times more likely than it would have been in the 1960's, while warmer temperatures in britain last november were made 62 times more likely. in particular, researchers said global warming is likely worsening heat waves and also noted an intensifying water cycle, connected to both increased droughts and drenching rain. the new research affirms what scientists have long predicted about the rise in extreme weather under climate change. this year, the u.s. has seen
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record rains, historic droughts, devastating wildfires, and blistering heat that has killed dozens of people. for it our full coverage of global warming and extreme weather, go to a government probe has found negligence by the canadian company enbridge led to the 2010 oil spill in the kalamazoo river, the most expensive onshore spill in u.s. history. more than 840,000 gallons of oil spilled into michigan waterways after the rupture of an underground oil pipeline canadian oil into the u.s.. on tuesday, the national transportation safety board released a probe confirming enbridge was aware as early as 2005 that its pipeline was cracked and corroded, but failed to take action. the ntsb chairman and a board member said enbridge had ignored a number of red flags. >> for more than 17 hours in
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over three ships, the people controlling the pipeline did not respond to the alarms, the pressure differentials, or even follow their own safety procedures that were established following another catastrophic release in 1991. >> is accident did not just occur because of corrosion in the pipeline. what this investigation has shown is this accident was the result of corrosion throughout many vital safety aspects of the enbridge organization. >> enbridge's sick and mechanisms were so flawed that the company did not know its pipeline was gushing oil into the kalamazoo river for 17 hours. it tries pump more oil into the ruptured line twice. 10 environmental groups have filed suit to challenge to giant the -- wilderness shall stick to plans for oil drilling in the alaskan arctic. in a statement, the groups say
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government regulators -- shell is a to begin exploratory drilling later this summer. palestinian soccer player who staged a hunger strike over the course of four months has been released after three years in an israeli prison without charge or trial. mahmoud al-sarsak was greeted with supporters as he returned to the gaza strip. sarsak was one of more than 1600 palestinian prisoners to take part in a coordinated hunger strike to protest israel's policy of administrative detention. we will have a debate on israel in the occupied territories later in the broadcast. bolivian president morales is revoked the mining license of south american silver following a series of protests by
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indigenous groups. thousands of people marched on bolivia's capital last month and a group of protesters letter to workers hostage to demand that south american silver give up control of the nine. m on tuesday morales he would listen to the demands. >> are you going to be mad at each other like angry siblings because of an international company that has come to lead our natural resources? we have to realize that we have to live like our ancestors did, like you consciously do. these resources belong to the bolivians state and its people, therefore, to be exploited and explored by the government with the help of the natives from the region, that is what the accord is all about. >> public-sector workers in scranton, pennsylvania are battling the city's mayor in court after he unilaterally cut
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their pay to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and missed a financial crisis. scranton mayor cut his own pay and that of the workers after the city reportedly had only $5,000 in the bank last week. unions representing the workers won an injunction against the pay cuts, but the city instituted them anyway. the unions are asking a judge to hold the mayor and city in contempt as well as challenging the city over unpaid overtime and disability pay cuts. scranton is just a handful of cities basing -- facing budget woes. sam bernadine, california city leaders voted to file for bankruptcy after the city faces a massive budget deficit. the third city in california to sink records protection and less than a month following mammoth lakes and stockton. the episcopal church has become the largest u.s. denomination to approve same-sex unions. at its annual convention, church members voted to allow priests to bless same-sex relationships.
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the ceremony would include prayers, vows, and the change of rings but would fall short of being considered a marriage. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show with a look at the fortune of mitt romney, one of the richest men to ever run for u.s. president. where romney stashes his personal wealth, estimated at up to $250 million, has been the focus of democrats since vanity fair published a new piece called, "where the money lives." it delves into the murky world of offshore finance, and reveals loopholes that allowed romney to skirt tax laws and store millions in foreign tax havens. president obama has tweeted three times about the article --ing that is originally a comment
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made by romney's former republican presidential rival, newt gingrich. the article also draws attention to romney's refusal so far to release more than one year's worth of tax returns. on tuesday, the obama campaign and top democrats took to the airwaves and the internet with videos like this one. >> romney has gone to great lengths to keep secret many of important details about his wealth, including whether he uses tax loopholes available only to the super rich. >> this is really something that is not going to appeal to americans unless mitt romney comes out and says, "we must change our tax code because it is up in the ball. i am one of the people who weren't too runner in the system -- who has learned to run around the system." that is not what he is doing. people will react negatively to this. >> your father released his tax returns not for one year, but
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for 12. when he did that, he said one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show. will you follow your father's example? >> maybe. >> it includes a clip of romney from cnn republican presidential primary debate in south carolina in january, responding to the moderator. now such ads have put romney back on the hot seat, despite reports of a still struggling economy and high unemployment, a new poll shows obama has extended his lead over romney to 6 percentage points. speaking to radio iowa late monday, romney answered his critics about his secretive accounting. >> i realize the president's failure to actually reignite the economy makes it hard for him to discuss his own record. so he is going to try to attack me and every personal basis he can come up with. with regard to any foreign investments? i understand that my investments have been held by a blind trust,
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have been managed by a trustee. i do not even know where they are. that trusty follows all u.s. laws all the taxes are paid, as appropriate, all of them have been reported to the government. there is nothing hidden there. for instance, if you own shares leslie in renault or fiat, you still have to disclose that and pay taxes in the u.s. the president is going to try to do anything he can to divert attention from the fact his jobs record is weak and is no plan to make things better. >> for more we're joined by investigative reporter, nick shaxson, whose new article for vanity fair magazine is what began this latest round of questions about romney's taxes and offshore accounts. it is called, "where the money lives." nick shaxson is also author of, "treasure islands: uncovering the damage of offshore banking and tax havens." he is joining us via videostream.
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welcome to "democracy now!" tell us, where does the money live? >> good morning. really, my article explored a series of questions. there is a lot of information available, but his ninth -- he released a tax return, so there is a certain information out there, but it is generated a lot questions. there are investments all over the place in the u.s. and overseas. there are a number of investments routed through tax havens. you have to do a bit of digging to find out where a lot of the investments are. there was the swiss bank account thototototototototototototototoe any particular tax residents, because it was disclosed. it made a big splash.
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my article found a corporation based in bermuda that had not been disclosed before, that suddenly popped up in the tax return for 2010, which he released under pressure to meet republican primaries. this bermuda corporation rated -- raise a lot of questions that journalists before have asked him and there has been no reasonable answer about this. there are a number of investment by air -- bank capital, it invests through places such as the cayman islands. on his tax return, page after page after page of foreign reported.are liste >> nick shaxson, you mentioned bain capital, that romney left
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it in 1999. as you pointed out, as recently as june, he earned $2 million in income from bain, despite having left the company 13 years ago. how is that possible? >> he was running bain capital from 1994-1999 where he left it to run the salt lake city olympic program. after he left in 1999, there is some question as to whether or not he left operational management. the romney camp said he did. but the media at the moment is questioning that. it appears he may have had some operational management over bain capital itself. after that, he did leave operational management of bain capital, but he continues to receive money from that.
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those funds will generate returns, will generate profit interests, which he has been receiving money. as you mentioned, the new payment became -- came to light recently. there has been no release of information about what exactly his severance agreement was with bain capital. what is his relationship? this campaign has not come back with any good answer. it may be there was a new entity that appeared on his tax return that appears to given the potential to receive more and, for many years to come, but there has been a clarity about this. we just do not know exactly how long his relationship will be with bain capital. if he is elected president, and maybe that he would still
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receive substantial income from them while he is president. a lot of questions are arising. of vice- to play crickeclip president joe biden joking about romney's's reluctance to release more than tears of tax returns. >> when his father was a candidate for president in 1968, his father released 12 years of tax returns because he said, "one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for shows." that was his father. his son has released only one year of his tax returns. , making like the old adage, like father, like son. >> he wanted to show your papers, but he will not show is his. >> vice-president joe biden. nick shaxson, let's talk about
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the issue of taxes. as you write in your article, it was met on his father in 1967 at this presidential campaign who released 12 years of tax returns saying, when explaining why so many years he released, one year to be a fluke, perhaps done for show. that was mitt romney's father, george romney. why is releasing tax returns so significant? what do you learn from them and what do we not know from mitt romney? >> i think the point about releasing only one year is very significant. for example, the swiss bank account pops up on the 2010 tax return. it was closed after that, and is now closed. the 2011 estimate that was produced revealed it had been closed. that was something that popped up. one year just gives you a snapshot, but the thing about
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income and taxes, income is very flexible when you are rich and have will the tax of visors, you can shift it around from year to year. unless you have a pattern over a number of years to see where the income is going and establish that as a sort of regular pattern, then it is very difficult to say anything for sure. he could have shoveled a lot of income from one year into another year and made it look a particular way. we just don't know. it is very important to get a lot more information than has been produced by mitt romney. >> we will take a break and come back to this discussion. our guest is nick shaxson, who has written a very interesting piece called, "where the money lives." we will be back in just a moment. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guest is nick shaxson. his latest piece in vanity fair has created quite a fire storm or, "where the money lives." you have been accused of being an obama stooge. your thoughts about president obama? >> personally, when obama was elected, i guess i was quite hopeful. as a british person, i am an outside observer to this. i must have been somewhat disappointed since he was elected, particularly because of his close ties to wall street.
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i and many others have been rather -- he has not followed through. i think this is relevant with mitt romney. one of the things mitt romney epitomizes is the whole financial is asian of corporations, where corporations, where managers turn their attention away from producing better goods and better services and better prices, you know, building long- term growth of companies, there has been where shareholder value has been the god of everything. it does not matter if you start extracting big loans or borrow huge amounts of money out of the company and pay yourself a special dividend, like many private equity companies have
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done, i think that seems to be a good thing. this is part of a whole process of financial is asian, which i think is something that mitt romney really epitomizes. obama does not be, is that, but i think his closeness to the financial sector is a worry to me. >> one of the things you point out in your piece is romney's average personal tax rate, which you say is 15%, substantially lower than what most middle income americans pay. can you explain how that is possible? >> the main reason for that is -- this is about the u.s. tax code. this is the way privileged people like mitt romney and others receive their income, called a carried interest. many would argue is just like ordinary income, a salary earned by anyone else and should earn the toptop tax rates, but inste,
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it is taxed at a very low rate of 15%. mitt romney's tax rate is a little bit lower than that. for various other reasons, he deductions and other income as well. but it is not totoo far off 15%. >> let's play a clip of reporter ryan gramm on msnbc send the deficit romney opposes is called in part -- cost in part by dodging taxes. >> one reason we do not have that money is so many rich people can afford sophisticated accountants who can hide the money in offshore tax havens and then hire lobbyists who then write loopholes into the tax code and now it wants to run for president, complaining about the deficit and saying the tax code is too complicated.
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at some point, if you have to say, wait a minute? what you talking about? the tax code shapeow does what he an extremely wealthy pay in taxes and what they are avoiding in pain? >> it is particularly common. there is this image that is grown over the years of tax havens as this exotic side show. what my research discovered is tax havens are much, much bigger than anyone realizes. the offshore system has grown enormously. it is at the heart of the global economy. if you look at the stuff foster is doing, which companies have got the biggest number of subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, it is the financial sector, wall street, the city of london. tax havens, if you want to understand or worried about the power of the financial sector, as i and many others are, then
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you have to look at tax havens. they are essentially an escape route. it is not just about taxes. it has been estimated the u.s. is losing 100 billion u.s. dollars a year to tax havens. through legal and illegal tax scams that are played by individuals and corporations. but there is much more to it. there's the issue of the complexity of the tax code. tax havens provide escape routes from the responsibility of society, whether those are to the taxes are financial regulations or criminal laws or disclosure rules or whatever. financial sectors are able to take the money offshore and do things they cannot do at home rid supposedly, and on shore, it will [unintelligible] the u.s. has all sort of defenses against erosion. the lawyers and accountants and
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the financial players will find ways around those new laws and defenses. it by bit, the game becomes more complex. the zero tax platform or financial players put their money in the cayman islands, then start playing this game of trying to find ways through the u.s. tax codes and try to stop the erosion of tax havens is like trying to play a game of whack-a-mole. very slippery entities to deal with, slippery jurisdictions to deal with. they're difficult politically as well around the country because it is generally the most influential and well as members of society that use tax havens, so quite often there the biggest supporters of tax havens. politically, it is difficult to get a change that cracks down is properly. yet the biggest corporations smaller companies, small
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businesses, individuals have to pay higher taxes as a result. there's a great distortion and the whole economic system rigged the fact mitt romney is so steeped in the system as such a friend to the system, for me, is wearing >> nick shaxson, is it unclear whether mitt romney has broken any laws and paying the tax rate he has? >> an paying the tax rate he has, and this is the crux of my article, it as an repeated by many that romney, ok, his a clever financial acrobat who can do back flips and has fantastic accounts, but is never broken any laws. that is the assertion that is the mantra and has been accepted
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in the u.s. media. the main thing might articles sought to do was questioned in and say, is it really true? the answer is not completely straightforward. essentially, in the area of tax and other areas, the dividing line between what is legal and illegal is usually not very clear. there is a fuzzy the zone between the two. when you're talking about offshore tax havens, that agrees on is quite big. one of the reasons are article i think has been so widely read is it establishes a pattern in the area of taxes and other areas that mitt romney appears to be very confident striding into this gray zone. you cannot directly say, "you have broken the law." but you can say, "that is pushing it a bit far." in some cases, he seems to be quite robust, even aggressive in pushing into this grazy zone.
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i think that is something that has not been properly appreciated. i think it is an important pattern to look at credit >> mitt romney makes more than the median u.s. household in just hours but he made 21 plus $7 million bid in 2010. the median household was $50,000. it will take the median household 433 years to make what romney made in 2010. nick shaxson, that is not illegal, by any means. it puts in certainly in a very different category than other americans. the you in your article by talking about, bain capital has done everything required by the u.s. government which does to require bain capital to enforce the tax laws of its investors, home countries, but the presence of swiss trusties, but, trust, panama corporations would raise
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red flags with any tax authority. it is what mitt romney says about this, you say, that is of concern. nick shaxson? >> yes. this is a very important point. people seek offshore tax havens as a shady little island somewhere. one of the things i explore in my book, "treasure island's," since the 1970's, the u.s. itself has been turning itself quite deliberately into a tax haven in its own right. attracting foreign money, a lot of illicit for money from overseas through offering things such as special tax exemptions and secrecy -- financial secrecy. delaware and nevada and wyoming, offering very, very low cost,
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strong secrecy through corporations. this is profoundly difficult thing. one of many vehicles through which this illicit money can come in is the private equity business. there is no requirement on private equity companies to enforce the tax laws of other countries. a filing i am covered during my research -- i am covered during my research showed the strange entities in the bahamas and panama, all of these places are renowned tax havens, renowned places which offer one of -- one of the big selling point is secrecy. we do not know exactly who the investors are, we have some idea and the sun came from el salvador, but we do not know if these investors were invading the home countries taxes, but it is possible. the presence of the panama,
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swiss, and bahama entities does raise red flags and is profoundly wearing. >> nick shaxson, thank you for being with the spread his latest article about ronnie's fortune is called, "where the money lives." he is also author of the book, "treasure islands: uncovering the damage of offshore banking and tax havens." you can go to to see our interview with him about this, joining us from switzerland. when we come back, we're going to look at the secretive organization called alec and now more and more corporations are leaving edge. then we will have a debate on a new israel government report that says the settlements are legal. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. 07/11/12 07/11/12 this summer, americans can cut
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their grass with the john deere mower, drink a cold miller high life beer, and buy sunscreen from cvs without fear that their consumer dollars will be used to fund policies like voter suppression and climate change denial. those three companies, along with computer maker hewlett- packard and electronics retailer best buy, are the latest entities to sever ties with the secretive right-wing american legislative exchange council, known as alec. in fact, the future of alec is more precarious than ever before. a grand total of 25 corporations have dropped alec membership, as well as four major non-profit organizations and 55 elected officials. >> alec has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months as the public has become aware of its role in events in the stand your ground law, initially cited to protect trayvon martin's killer. the organization has pushed voter suppression bills, union busting policies, and other controversial legislation. this is naacp president benjamin
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jealous. >> and that is why alec was so officially proper could stand your ground laws around the country, voter suppression from coast to coast. the blood of every adult and child who is wrongfully killed because of these laws is on your hands. if it comes to pass and we find the election was stolen in advance the with the politician in pennsylvania believes it already has been, then we will ensure the shame is placed squarely on your shoulders, too. >> for more we go madison, wisconsin, where we're joined by lisa graves, executive director for the center for media and democracy, which built alec exposed, a website showing more than 800 of the group's model bills. welcome to "democracy now!" talk about the latest
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corporations to pull out of alec. >> we were thrilled yesterday when color change announced by more corporations have left alec, bringing the total to 25 corporations, 55 legislators, and four nonprofits that have that isis organization th basically a bill mill. on behalf of our work and others, we're just so happy to see additional corporations saying no to alec. >> why do think these five companies pulled out when they did? >> i think there's been a number of pressure points, including the ongoing decision by color change and other coalition partners. there was also a complaint filed just a week and a half ago that called for criminal sanctions against alec for what was described as he evading the criminal provisions of the tax law.
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that along with the previous complaint against alec for logging without disclosing that to the ira's along with our work to expose how these alec scholarships by crustaceans are bank -- corporations are bankrolling, i think the heat is on alec, and rightly so. >> alec is a charity under federal tax laws. does that have implications for the lobbying they engage in? >> it does if you do not disclose to do any of it. alec previously said it does not engage in lobbying or managed scholarships, while and fax the documents we have -- the facts show they do. >> is there any relation to mitt romney? >> when you look at the alec
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bill that alec exposed, you can go to the tax session and see bill after bill that basically channels the voice of norquist, channeled through romney campaign as well as through the alec bills to basically cut corporate taxes, cut back on the ability to basically find the revenue for our state and federal governments to provide basic services and do everything it can to hide the hand of lawmakers to do the democratic will in terms of providing the basic services americans count on. public education, public services, retirement, and things of that nature privatizing that, it is part and parcel, unfortunately, the dominant engine of one of the parties in this country. >> finally, the significance of trayvon martin's killing and breaking the camel's back with alec? how it called corporate sort of center stage first alec's
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pushing for the stand your ground laws, and people seeing what it meant on the ground? >> it is a horrible tragedy that happened in florida. the very idea of a law would be cited to prevent a case like that from going to jury for people to hear the evidence i think is a flaw in the justice system and has been propagated by alec, an organization that has pushed these laws in states across the country to make it more difficult to prosecute shooters, for many cases, where people were unarmed. i think the light has been shown on alec. it is not to show in the abstract issues, the bills we have disclosed, the portfolio, but also reveals the human impact of some of these laws that are being pushed by corporations and trade groups. >> if you can give is the list of corporations have pulled out of alec. interesting for being in it and now pulling out as alec moves to
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its major meeting. >> mcdonald's, coca-cola, hewlett-packard, john deere, pepsi-cola, we also know the gates foundation has pulled out of alec, one of the nonprofits that has left. yumm! groups which has a number of fast food operations including kentucky fried chicken and taco bell and others, have pulled out rick kraft foods as well. and number of corporations that are brand names the people rely on, eat and drink and use have now left alec. >> who is on in? >> the koch brothers, big ies, a, tobacco industry'
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and we also seem groups like the macondo coalition, which is privatizing -- looking to privatize everything in the country from bill bonds to cut taxes and stop the ability of the epa to regulate poison. >> lisa graves, we will leave it there, but continue to follow this story. she formerly served as deputy assistant attorney general of the u.s. to permit justice. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> in israel in the occupied territories, an israeli government committee has affirmed the country self- proclaimed right to build settlements throughout the occupied west bank, and recommended the legalization of dozens of settler outposts that of not received government authorization. the international criminal court of justice has already ruled that all of israel's west bank
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settlements are illegal, but israel has said it would only consider dismantling scattered outposts that it has not officially approved. the settlers have used the outposts to seize even more palestinian land than has already been taken. using the jewish biblical terms for the west bank, is really the infrastructure minister landau said the panel's findings affirmed settlers' rights to maintain the outposts as well. >> i authoritative document, which spells out again the right of the jews to settle [unintelligible] as was originally decided upon by the league of nations. >> responded to the report of the three member commission, the palestinian for top party led by president abbas said the conclusions were "a farce that mocked and defied the international community." to talk more about the significance of the commission's report, we host a debate. in philadelphia, jonathan tobin
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whose latest piece is called, "settlements' legality won't prevent peace." his columns have regularly appeared in the jewish -- jerusalem post and elsewhere. in chicago, we are joined by ali abunimah, author of, "one country: a bold proposal to end the israeli-palestinian impasse." we welcome you both. let's begin with jonathan tobin. your response to the government report by israel saying the sediments are legal? >> it is reaffirming a position israel has long held. obviously, it is not popular with the international community. unfortunately, i think it has inflated the popularity of the settlement. questions of illegality. under international law, and i think israel's position is quite sound, the right of the jews to live in the west bank was guaranteed in the league of nations mandate for palestine, which was the last sovereign in that area that was recognized by
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everybody. but i think the point is that recognizing their legal, i think should get as onto a point of, how do we get to peace? the focus on the "bil'in validate" has allowed the palestinians to sort of remain in the fantasy that the jews can be thrown out willy-nilly, not only to go back to the 1949 line, but it goes to the refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the jewish state no matter where the borders are drawn. >> ali abunimah, your response? >> wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all go out and commit whatever crumbs we wanted and then put on a judge's robes and declare it ought to be perfectly legal and above board? that is exactly what has happened here. jonathan tobin, when he talks about the sentiments being unpopular, is being generous. in fact, these tired of
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propaganda points, in the israeli government commission report have been rejected legally time and again, decade after decade by every international body and every international jurist that is looked at this. i think what is really going on is israel recognizes that it is a violent settlement that has no international legitimacy. the world is inching much too slowly toward actually beginning to impose a cost on israel for this. so israel is trying to manufacture legitimacy for a totally illegitimate enterprise maintained through violence and a system of military tyranny and apartheid. i can understand very well why jonathan tobin would want to welcome this and delude himself to provide a fig leaf of
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legitimacy to israel's war crimes under international law, which is what the sediments are. >> i want to turn to a statement made by israeli president pérez who spoke tuesday against settlements in the west bank. he said -- jonathan tobin, can you comment on what these repressive and peres said? >> that is the position many israelis hold. but it should not be with the legality. the problem is that people like the people from the electronic intifada, do not really recognized legitimacy of jewish life anywhere, including the
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settlement to leave. the problem here is, it is that a question of whether they are legal or not, because of the palestinians wish to compromise, wish to recognize the legitimacy of the jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn, they can do so israel has approved it will withdraw from territory of offered peace. the problem is, the palestinians will not recognize the legitimacy of jewish life anywhere in that country. that is why the talk of war crimes -- jews are not foreigners in the land of israel. the problem is, the palestinians do not wish to share. with a question of disputed territory. both sides have rights. jews have rights, too. if the palestinians wish to have peace, if there were offered -- they were offered three times and rejected three times in the last 12 years, then have to start to live with the reality that the jews are not going away.
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if they do, they will find israel is willing to withdraw from most of the sediments, whether they consider them legal or not let's not conflate these two issues. peace is possible if they are willing to make peace. it is not possible if they focus on fantasies about throwing out the jews. even the obama administration, which has been the most sympathetic to the most in recent years, understood the sediments are going to stay. that is what the territorial swaps talk was about last year. the focus of elect al-libi that everyone knows is when the state is really an where -- the focus of illegality that everyone knows is going to stay is really, it's just breeds more rejection of peace, which is what we get from the electronic intifada. >> i see mr. tobin study the talking points very well this morning. it's bring things back to basics. this is not a question of jews.
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jews have lived in palestine since before the colony was imposed on -- sediment colony was imposed it is of apartheid, of the assertion that jews have the right to superior rights and indigenous palestinian people and have a right to bulldoze -- literally all those their way onto palestinian land and steal it for their own benefits. frankly, i'm not surprised mr. -- >> jews are not foreigners. >> you think that a conservative publication would care of these about private property rights. the fact vast tracts of these jewish only settler colonies are built on private palestinian land, stolen by force by israel's jewish sectarian military known as the idea of. back to the statement that was the original question, of
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course, his statement calling for palestinian babies a so- called demographic threat libreville's the jim crow-like racism of this the zionist ideology that the mere existence of palestinian babies in their own native land as a threat to israel. how can palestinians ever possibilitpossibly ever showed a threat question it is time the apartheid racism makes good on the acclaimed liberal and progressive values and oppose israeli apartheid and except the inevitable, which is, just like in the jim crow south, just like in apartheid south africa, one day there is one of the equal rights for everyone between the river and the sea, and all of
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this nonsense that jonathan tobin is trying to sell us will be absolutely forgotten. >> i want to turn to the u.s. response to the commission's report read to the obama administration criticized the findings of the report. speaking monday, the state to state department spokesperson said, "u.s. position on settlements is clear. obviously, we've seen the reports that israeli government appointed panel has recommended legalizing dozens of israel is adamant in the west bank, but we do not accept the legitimacy of continued israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts." >> it opposes it, but it tacitly agrees to the fact the jews are not going away. what we heard from my colleague on the show was the palestinian fantasy that sunday israel is
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going to be destroyed. all of these letters -- >> i did not say that i did not use those words. >> yes, yes, that is exactly what you're talking about. it is not an apartheid state. [talking over each other] that is exactly what they're talking about. the destruction of israel. which is why -- >> your words. it is your fantasy. >> do not try to buy your way out of it. >> jonathan tobin, if you could explain where ali abunimah talked about the destruction of israel. >> he is talking about the end of the apartheid, talking about one state. in other words, not with the u.n. did -- >> [unintelligible] >> excuse me, can i answer the question? what's your sign -- >> you're not talking about is
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really stayed or jewish state, you're talking about one state or the jews will no longer have their own -- a 20- >> ali abunimah, your response? >> that is the point it is true is it democracy. >> how is it a democracy quest records we have to wrap it up. 10 seconds. >> house that democratic? >> you want to deny rights to the jews. that is something that israel -- >> how to want to -- >> we have to leave it there, jonathan tobin and ali abunimah, thank you for being with us. that is today's broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by
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